Friday, October 2, 2009

Caltrain Shuttle Stats

More thoughts on the Caltrain stats in the last post...

Here is exactly why the shuttle ridership is dropping more than the
Caltrain ridership.

In the past year Apple and Genentech - companies that both have large
shuttle programs taking
employees from Caltrain to the office, introduced shuttles that take
employees directly from San
Francisco to the office. People who used to take Caltrain to Mountain
View or SSF to get a company
shuttle, now aren't on the Caltrain at all.

Now, of course this drops Caltrain ridership by N as well as Caltrain
Shuttle ridership by N. However, the
PERCENTAGE impact to the shuttle ridership numbers is substantially

I picked Oct 2008 out of a hat. 41,893 riders daily. 6316 Shuttle
riders - the stats don't indicate if that is
daily or monthly. My guess - that's monthly ... e.g. 210 riders on
shuttles per day. If 10 people switch from Caltrain-Shuttle
to Company Shuttle, that lowers the Caltrain ridership by 20/41893 =
which is close to zero. Those same 20 rides
(remember this is round trip) lower the shuttle ridership by 10

Caltrain may only be counting shuttles that they are affilliated with
(listed on Caltrain website) so Apple may not be included.

I can't verify all my math or my facts, but this has to be a nominal factor.


ammon said...

guilty as charged - these days I take the train less than 1/2 as much as I used to since the corporate shuttle is more convenient for me in the evening.

And speaking of caltrain usage, even their extra trains on Saturday weren't enough to cause this bike car disaster at cal ave (many were bumped later):

We fit 8 bikes in one rack (2 on top), plus 3 wheels from disassembled fixies lined up next to the rack:

Rafael said...

@ ammon -

the problem isn't really Caltrain, it's too many cyclists all insisting on bringing fixed frame bikes on board during rush hour. Caltrain's first priority has to be moving people, not their stuff.

Folding bikes would be more compatible. There are even a few models with electric motors and Li-ion batteries on the market. While those are still expensive, they mean cyclists aren't going to board the trains all sweaty, a courtesy other passengers would surely appreciate.

ammon said...


That's why there's a special bike car for cyclists, so those without bikes can enjoy all the other cars:


One counterpoint to your coach theory is that from my experience Apple's coach has decimated the caltrain bikecar ridership more than any other group. I know many former caltrain_bike riders who now only ride the train once every other week to get a fun ride in. You'd have to be a serious masochist with a lot of free time to take only public transit through sf (1 hour) to the caltrain (1 hour) and then onto work in the south bay.

Jym said...

@Rafael =v= Actually Caltrain's first priority is to provide transportation as an alternative to automobile use. That's in their mission statement and has been affirmed many times by Bay Area opinion polls and Bay Area voters. To provide such an alternative requires solving the "last mile problem" -- getting to and from the train station.

Human-powered bicycling is by far the most energy-efficient solution for the last mile problem, and as far as anyone has been able to determine, bicycle carriage on trains is the most cost-effective way to achieve this combination.

Bicycle carriage on trains is nothing new; it's been a right enshrined in the California Civil Code for over a century.

Folding bikes are great (I use one), but they are no substitute for proper capacity planning.

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